Friday, June 07, 2013


I agree with Scott Lemieux, the PRISM program is a lot worse than the Verizon order that leaked out earlier. PRISM is worse because intercepted the content of messages, not just data about the messages. I also think it's worse because I'm not sure that it is legal. As I mentioned before, the court order requiring Verizon to turn over data about its customers is legal under the 2008 FISA amendments.It's less clear to me whether this PRISM data mining is.

If it is legal, the system is pretty broken. Essentially all three branches of government are now working together to rob people of privacy. It's a total failure of the checks and balances system, Which makes it all the more depressing. We used to have laws against this kind of thing. But then the Bush administration was caught breaking them. Rather than enforcing the law, Democrats and Republicans worked together to legalize the conduct. I just don't see any chance of it getting any better.

UPDATE: It looks like section 215 of the Patriot Act is the basis for the PRISM program.